The times they are a changing again. Back in the day, young men would dream of getting a stylish ride in the hopes of raising their status and ultimately win the affections of the women around them.

However, now it seems that youngsters in Japan are no longer interested in paying large sums of money to strap themselves into large decorated pieces of metal and move around at high speeds with hundreds of other random strangers also piloting lethal projectiles.

Where did we go wrong?

Actually the trend of young people gradually not getting behind the wheel seems to have started around the turn of the millennium. Only recently, they’ve been going the extra mile and not even bothering to get licenses. According to statistics by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police the number of driving school graduates has decreased by around 16% or 300,000 people, and the schools themselves have been closing down by the dozens.

The reason for this dip is probably due to several factors. Of course the overall population decline in Japan has been taking its toll on all types of education facilities, and driving schools have likely taken a hit as well. Then we also have internet shopping which has advanced enough that many of us are building rather pleasant acquaintanceships with our delivery people.

But despite all of this, guys still need access to some wheels if they want to woo the woman of their dreams, right?

One out of three: “ain’t bad”
Website NewsCafe decided to run a poll to see if women were welcoming to a guy without a driver’s license using a tried-and-true ari (yea) and nashi (nay) system. As a result, the “nays” had it with 65.8% of the vote. Here’s what some of them had to say.

I’m sorry but you’re not living up to your potential if you don’t have one, and you need to have one to drive me places.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. You need it in the countryside. Don’t you work?
It might be alright for the big cities, but in rural areas forget about it.
Even if you don’t have a car, it can be used as ID.

That last point is probably correct. But seeing a kid get carded at a convenience store or bar in Japan is about as common as spotting a white tailed deer in one.

Among the survey respondents 32% said it was no problem for a guy not to have a driver’s license. They also said:

There’s no law saying you have to have one.
If they have the means then they can just use a taxi or limo.
I’d prefer he had one, but its okay if he doesn’t.
I think some guys just don’t have time to go to driving school.
It’s fine if he has it, but it’s not really needed in the city.

And my personal favorite, because I love it when people get belligerent during surveys.

The worth of a man should not be judged by such things!

Always bet on the robots
NewsCafe also admits that these figures were basically a gun-to-the-head type answer and many of the women on both sides mentioned exceptions to the rule such as “it depends what his job is” and “if he lives in a place with good public transportation its fine.”

As repeatedly said by many of the women surveyed, it’s just a matter of where you live. Most urban areas in Japan are so tight and have public transport down to such a science that owning a car is more of a nuisance than a benefit. Add to that the fact that getting a license is a costly task in terms of both time and money (both of which get more severe as you get older) and its no surprise people would rather get a passport as a form of ID than a driver’s license.

Besides, they keep telling us these driverless cars are just around the corner. I know I’d feel quite the chump after shelling out potentially thousands of dollars just to get a piece of paper that’d be useless once my car becomes a better driver than I could hope to be.

Source: Infoseek via Hachima Kiko (Japanese)
Image: Wikipedia (Edited by RocketNews24)